Friday, 30 September 2011

Friday 110930

I sometimes go on about people parking on the bus stop in Torbay Rd. Most drivers move on when we turn up in the bus some don't. The ones that do move on tend to be car drivers who have just stopped to drop someone off or are having a quick chat to a mate. I don't really have a problem with this though in an ideal world it wouldn't happen. The ones that haven't moved away include a Devon and Somerset Fire Brigade vehicle, the driver crossed the road in front of the bus, got in the van and started eating his chips, then there was the police car, unattended, next came the ambulance crew. When I told them they couldn't park on the bus stop they ignored me and walked away. I sent photos to their boss with a strong email of complain. Today it was the turn of Tor2, who are rubbish collectors here in the Bay. The truck was unattended which left me out in the roadway causing chaos and it's me the passing motorist blame not the rubbish collectors who weren't even collecting rubbish. They were collecting coffee and coke (the drink, not the other kind of coke. See Photo below). When they came back 5 minutes later they claimed they had been collecting bins from down a side road. Some one must have dumped a few cups of coffee and bottles of coke and sandwiches in the bin for them. I've been working from that bus stop for 6 months and have never seen them collecting bins in the bus stop, they always stop in the roadway and drive away as soon as possible.

I have been on Tor2’s web site to see where to email my photos but the site is devoid of any way of emailing complains. Just a phone number. Last time I tried phoning Tor2 I listened a recorded voice telling me my call was important please hang on and we will get to you. I eventually hung up before my phone bill began to resemble the National Debt.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Torbay Road Closed

As you can see from the photo, Torbay Rd in Paignton will be closed at the level crossing a week on Sunday and the Sunday after that. Now we drive over that level crossing 17 times a day. In fact to leave our bus stop we have no option but to drive over the level crossing. Are we worried by this closure? Well, actually no because our summer services come to an end on Oct 8 so we wont be to bothered by the chaos this closure is going to cause. We will be operating on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays during the winter and my services will only be required to cover for holidays and sickness so I will have more time on my hands for the next 6 months.
If you want a ride on our open top bus then Friday 30 Sept is the last chance as it is coming of the road at the end of Friday's shift. I have enjoyed my 6 months driving round Paignton and hope to be back next year.
We are having some good weather this week, sunny and quite warm, passengers were actually getting on the bus today complaining that it was too hot, there's no pleasing some people.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Only Three Weeks to Go

Only thre weeks left of the summer season and then it's the winter sheduals which is only 3 days a week with only one bus running. So it's back to enforced idleness for the part time driver, poor sod. Hang on. I'm the part time driver. Never mind, 6 month off will give me plenty of time to get all those little jobs do around the house that I have been meaning to do for the last 10 years. Plus I have several hundred photos I need to catalogue before there gets too many for me to bother with.

It's Sunday morning and I am at work which is unusual as I don't normally work on a Sunday. The forecast was for white cloud but no rain. The Met Office have millions of pounds worth of equipment up there in Exeter and they can't even get the forecast right for Torquay which is 23 miles down the road because it's grey clouds and they are leaking lots of rain. Either that or the fire bridge are following me around spraying water all over the bus to make me think it's raining. Not only is it raining but there is a cold wind coming in from the North West which is very unpleasant and keeping all the visitors in their hotels.

I heard yesterday that the road works predicted by the paint marks in the road just before the level cross are to take place on Sunday 9 October and the road will be closed all day. As we finish on the 8th I don't give a damn. Should be fun for everyone else though.

The new winter service runs Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and starts on Tuesday 11 October. For full details click on the Devonian Timetables link on the right.

A steam train special came down from Bristol and through Paignton today at 2 minutes to 12. It was pulled by an engine called King Edward I. It stopped in the station for 12 mins before heading off for destinations unknown. As the train is longer than most trains that stop here the level crossing barriers have to stay down till it's gone; some obscure Health & Safety rule I expect. This meant I was ten mins late setting off on my 12 noon trip. I don't know why we have to wait so long, surely who ever runs Paignton rail station could sort something out that would allow the barriers to go up. These steam trains run fairly often and it can be a bit tedious waiting for nothing. I've just heard that today is the last of the steam train specials for this year.



Friday, 16 September 2011

Water Bills and Nick Glegg

From the BBC

Proposals to help consumers struggling to pay their water bills in the South West may be announced shortly.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who was on a visit to Cornwall, said he was "pretty hopeful that pretty soon" a package of measures would be revealed.

That's pretty good Nick.

I'll believe it when I see it.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Parking and a Couple of Animals

About the photos first. The one of the roadway with the paint marks in doesn't look too good. These markings are usually put down by someone from the Highways Department about a week before someone else comes along with a big machine and rips up the road. The markings are on both sides of the level crossing and the idea of temporarily traffic lights controlling the flow of traffic at this spot might not make it to my top 10 worst nightmares list but it isn't something to look forward to with much enthusiasm either.

The one of the ambulance parked on the bus stop shows that ambulance drivers, or at least the one driving this ambulance are able to park anywhere they like. Actually this isn't the case and this photo is on it's way to West Country Ambulance Service with a little note asking the boss to have a word in the driver's ear; and I don't care if it not a very polite word either. I also mentioned the arrogant attitude show by the second crew member who I spoke to. She told my they weren't on a call as she got out of the ambulance and headed for the shops. I told her they couldn't park on the bus stop and she just walked away saying nothing. Neither the parking nor the rudeness were a good advert for the West Country Ambulance Service.

A couple of animals caught my eye the other day. Just near the Sands Rd level crossing there is a small patch of grass. On this grass a pet owner was taking his pet for a walk. not a dog or even a cat but a polecat. It stared at the bus as I drove by. About half a mile down the road I turned into Torbay Rd and a squirrel suddenly appeared in front of me running desperately up the centre of the road. I matched his speed and followed him, resisting the urging of one of my passengers to "flatten the little vermin". It continue running up the middle of the road the whole length of Torbay Rd so I can report that squirrels can run at 15 mph for 300 yards. Finally he spotted a tree and vanished into the top most branches never to be seen again; not by me anyway.

PS sorry I couldn't take a photo of either.


Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Merry Christmas

This was taken last week and once again this pub wins the first prize for the first "Book you christmas party" advert.
There should be a law against even mentioning christmas until at least December 1st at the earliest.
Mind you last year it was up in August so a bit of an improvement there.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Youtube Video, nothing to do with buses.

If you click on this link it will take you to a youtube video I made recently in the Apple and Parrot, probably the best pub on the Strand, Torquay. They were making an ad for an upcoming event so I decided to film the making of the ad.

The actual ad can be seen here.

Sunday 110911

Some information on the incident I reported in my last post regarding the accident at Windy Corner. It appears that the scooter rider, Mr John Manley suffered a heart attack and dies as a result of that and not of injuries sustain in the collision with the post.

On Monday night we had some strong winds so on Tuesday morning we were driving round with some caution looking for trees or branches that might have come down in the night. There were two such problems on my route. The first I came to was in Broadsands Rd. A branch had come down and was intruding into the road by a couple of feet and clearly visible and easily avoided. When I came back 5 minutes later there were two council workers removing the branch. Half a mile further on, on the ring road, I came across the second incident. A tree in a garden had been blow over but it had come to rest on an other tree but one of it's branches was sticking out into the road at a height of about 10 feet. Would have made a nasty dint in the top of the bus but brilliant driver that I am I spotted it in good time and managed to avoid it. Now some Stagecoach services occasionally run along this road and the branch would cause them more problems than it caused me so at the next bus stop I pulled in, handbrake on, switched of the engine and rang Stagecoach depot to let them know the problem. The controller I spoke to thanked me and said he would get onto the council at once. An hour later when I went back the tree had gone and council work men were just finishing clearing the road. The 3rd thing the council were clearing up was the damaged post at Windy Corner. By lunch time the post had been replaced and the road clear. So well done Torbay Council far acting speedily in these three incidents.

The forecast for tonight is wind. Cornwall and Devon were on Amber alert as the remains of Cyclone Katia headed our way but it looks like it might miss up but winds of 25 mph are still predicted. We will have to wait and see.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Monday 5 September 2011 A Fatal RTC

On my way into town on my first trip I had a feeling something was wrong. There were more people than usual at the Waterside stop and at the YMCA stop. When I stopped at The Leisure Centre and loaded the bus I had almost a full load. One of the people who didn't get on the bus asked if I knew when the next 12 was coming. This suggested there was a problem somewhere. Usually By the time I get to the Big Tree our 501 service from Galmpton is coming up behind me. If it is I let it get in front of me as it leaves the stand at 09:55 and I go 5 minutes later. But there was no sign of the bus. When I got to the stand in Torbay Rd I began to wonder what the problem was. Then at 5 to ten the other bus turned up 10 minutes late. The driver told me that the road had been closed by the police at Windy Corner. This is a problem for me as my route takes me out towards Windy Corner but I turn down Broadsands Rd just before the Zebra Crossing at Windy Corner. The road was set to be closed for 4 to 5 hours which suggested a serious RTC. When I got to the bottom of Cherry Brook there was a road closed sign and a policeman directing traffic up Cherry Brook. I spoke to him and he said I could get down Broadsands as the main road was closed just passed the junction. When I got to the junction I could see a motor scooter on it's side. It had hit the pole supporting the left-hand belisha beacon at the Zebra Crossing outside Squire's Restaurant. Plenty of police cars were also present but the ambulance had gone by then. The road remained closed until about 2:30. Accident investigators were there for 5 hours taking measurements.

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman said: "From initial inquiries it would appear that there are no other vehicles involved, although a full investigation is ongoing.

"Officers would like to hear from anyone who was driving along Dartmouth Road and either witnessed the collision or saw the motorcycle prior to the incident."

I later heard that the rider, John Manley, aged 74, from Brixham had been taken to Torbay Hospital but had died from his injuries. Our Condolences go to his family and friends.

Saturday 4 Sept 2011 Parking Ticket

Once again a coach driver has forgotten that there is a difference, legally, between a coach and a bus. One of those differences is that buses cannot park in coach bays. An other is that coaches cannot park on bus stops, especially those bus stops marked out in yellow paint. The reason for that is simple. If a coach parks on the bus stop, when the bus turns up it has to sit out in the middle of the road blocking the traffic and causing congestion.

Traffic wardens were invented to help keep the traffic in our towns and cities moving by discouraging illegal parking, a major reason for congestion. Most traffic wardens enjoy their job.

So, don't park on bus stops, it will cost you 80 quid. Oh sorry, it already has cost you 80 quid.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Coming Up

First a reminder. On Sunday at Shedden Hill Car Park there is the Vintage Bus Running Show. Here is a chance not only to look at a load of old buses but also take a ride round the Bay on as many as you have time for. Look out for the ex Torquay Dept Volvo B6 formally used on the 12 service before being moved to Exeter. I always liked driving these B6s and like most drivers was sad to see them go but I did hear that the engineering staff all went out for a drink the day they left the depot. Any way, you can catch the buses at the car park or wait for them at their very own bus stop on the sea front at the bottom of Belgrave Rd.

Second a warning. From Monday if you get on a bus in the Bay with a concessionary bus pass you will be asked to swipe the bus pass on the electronic ticket machine instead of showing the pass and telling the driver where you are going. A couple of minor problems here. First you will probably have to take the pass out of a holder if you have it in a holder as the machine might not be able to read the card through the clear plastic screen in most card holders, so have it out ready. Second is the fact that now because passengers will no longer need to tell the driver where they intend to get off the bus, there is a possibility that you might get on the wrong bus and not realise until you have travelled a long way toward some where you didn't intend to go to. Have fun.

Third a question. Look at the photo. I have noticed a few cars recently with odd little things hanging from the back bumper. What is this all about, have I missed something important here?